Sunday, October 09, 2011

Black Elk, Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux (1863-1950)

You have noticed that everything an Indian does is in a circle,
and that is because the Power of the World
 always works in circles,
and everything and everything tries to be round.

In the old days all our power came to us from
 the sacred hoop of the nation
 and so long as the hoop was unbroken
 the people flourished.
  The flowering tree was the living center of the hoop,
Native American Wheel
and the circle of the four quarters nourished it.
 The east gave peace and light,
 the south gave warmth,
the west gave rain,
and the north with its cold and mighty wind
 gave strength and endurance.
  This knowledge came to us from the
outer world with our religion.

Everything the power of the world does is done in a circle.
the sky is round
 and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball
and so are all the stars.
  The wind, in its greatest power, whirls.
Birds make their nests in circles,
 for theirs is the same religion as ours.
The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle.
The moon does the same and both are round.
Even the seasons form a great circle
 in their changing
 and always come back again to where they were.

The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood,
and so it is in everything where power moves.
Our tepees were round like the nests of birds,
 and these were always set in a circle,
 the nation's hoop,
a nest of many nests,
where the Great Spirit meant for us to hatch our children.